Next Friday, Robert Doornbos will crawl behind the wheel of his Jordan Grand Prix Formula One car again for the fifth time this season. At the Circuito de Catalunya the Dutch ace will drive the EJ-15 during Friday's two Free Practise sessions...
Next Friday, Robert Doornbos will crawl behind the wheel of his Jordan Grand Prix Formula One car again for the fifth time this season. At the Circuito de Catalunya the Dutch ace will drive the EJ-15 during Friday's two Free Practise sessions ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
This famous circuit near Barcelona is very popular amongst both teams and drivers for its challenging character as it offers an ideal mix between many fast corners but also some slow ones. As a preview for this weekends GP, Robert Doornbos takes us to this circuit that is heavily used by most of the teams during the winter for pre-season testing because of its mild climate.
Last year the 23-year old driver drove for the first time on the 4.627 kilometer long track during the FIA International F3000 championship. As the 2004 F3000 'Rookie of the Year' now looks forward of lapping this exciting circuit in a F1 car, he talks you through one of his laps around the Spanish track.
Robert: "The Circuit de Catalunya is a tight, technical circuit, and has some fast corners that really sort out the men from the boys. The circuit is bumpier than most other on the calender and this can really be felt in the tight confines of an F1 car. I have trained the circuit several times on the Playstation, but it will be a whole other ballgame than last year in F3000."
FLAT OUT AT THE START/FINISH STRAIGHT!
Robert: "After travelling down the one-and-a-half kilometer long straight, I slam on the brakes, change down to third, and enter the tight, uphill Elf chicane at around 160 km/hour. The next corner, the Curvone Renault, is a nearly flat uphill righthander that ca make or break your lap. After a number of slow turnings, Repsol and Seat, the one of the most exciting parts of the 'Circuito the Catalunya' follows."
"Halfway the circuit, behind the paddock, a fast left-right combination makes you shift back to third gear before gradually changing gear up to fifth. This is a corner, where if you overdrive the car, you can easily end up in the gravel trap. At the exit of this corner you must position yourself quickly for Campsa, a blind corner, that you can alomst take flat out!"
NEW HOLLAND: AN ATTACK ON YOUR NECK MUSCLES!
Robert: "After the Campsa-corner the back straight (Nissan) allows you to change the brake balance and set the traction control in a different mode before the next corner, the 'La Caixa' hairpin. This turn offers one of the best spots to overtake other drivers. In this hairpin the balance of the car plays a very important role. After the Curva Banc Sabadell the Curva Europcar and New Holland follow. These final three righthanders for start/finish are extreme tough on your neckmuscles.
"In the Curva Europcar and New Holland one even experiences forces up to 3,5g! At the exit of the last turn (New Holland) you also have to fully use the kerbs in order to reach the highest maximum speed when crossing the finishline, and starting your next lap!"
Robert: "Just like the previous four GP's of this season, I will mainly focus myself on my Bridgestone evaluation programme and finding a good race set-up. The weather expectations for this weekend are good, so normally I should be able to drive a complete race-distance over the two sessions."
"I'm already extremely excited of getting back in my car to lap this exciting circuit this Friday. At my website I'll keep you informed about my performances this weekend. Hopefully my results give you something to cheer about!"